I have a book for Garrick Ravi called The Festivals of India (there must be a new edition because the cover looks different). One thing about it that I really like is that it is many Hindu holidays but not just Hindu ones. There are Christian ones, Muslim ones, Sikh, and Jain, and Buddhist, and even one Jewish one (though the description of Christmas is pretty wild. The explanation for the Christmas tree is unlike anything I’ve ever heard!). It got me thinking that in a way India is more religiously diverse than America.
We might have people of all religions here but we are quite ignorant for the most part of any religion not our own.
In India even the Hindu majority knows the philosophies of the Jains, the Muslims, the Sikhs, the Buddhists, the Christians, and the Jews. There is a much stronger awareness of other people’s religions. In America it seems like we have all the same religions present but most people are so oblivious to the existence of other religons and their philosophies.
I wonder why it is so different.
- Perhaps it is in which religion is dominent? That a Christian majority doesn’t have much interest in other faiths while a Hindu majority is much more open to different people’s paths to divinity.
- Perhaps it is clearer in India what faith someone is since one’s clothing and/or name can easily indicate your family’s faith.
- Perhaps it is because the various religions in India are more ingrained. In America there is a tendency to see white Christians as the “real Americans” and other religions are coming in with immigrants. It’s not actually true, but that is the perception. India has produced a great many faiths, such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Muslims have been present in India for hundreds of years since the Mogul invasion. Christians have been there a long time too. Missionaries have probably been in India since before America existed as a country.
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